Brilliant, my third favourite Turandot after the 1988 and 1983 productions...
Turandot I've always held in high regard. It's not my favourite Puccini opera, but ever since singing in the chorus five years ago it has been very special to me. This 1994 performance is brilliant, my third favourite after the 1988 Met production with Marton, Domingo, Mitchell and Plishka and the 1983 one with Marton, Carreras and Ricciarelli. I also love the 2009 Met production, but I slightly prefer the above three. Firstly, this Turandot looks fantastic visually. The Met production is a little more lavish, but I do love the simple but still oriental story-book-like costumes and sets. The production looks equally amazing on DVD, the reds, greens and blues are very intense and helps enhance the action. The staging with the colourful dancing especially is very involving and the three enigmas scene will have you biting your nails. The orchestra perform Puccini's wonderful music superbly, and the conducting has plenty of authority. The chorus are fine in general, the "grind and sharpen" chorus is very impressively acted, and they are well balanced on the whole, but at times such as in Act 3 they could have done with a richer sound and a few more nuances. I loved the principal performances. Eva Marton is not as good vocally as she was in 1983 and 1988 with a wobble that can make her pitch approximate sometimes, but it is a musically and dramatically committed performance complete with a hair-raising In Questa Reggia. Michael Sylvester I knew from his impressive Gabriele Adorno in 1991's Simon Boccanegra, and he is a credible Calaf, noble and heroic with a strong voice and a solid if not entirely thrilling Nessun Dorma. Kevin Langan is a stately and moving Timur, the voice is one where richness and beauty pours out of him, he is very firm dramatically especially in Act 1 and I loved his make-up, it was beautifully done and I actually believed that this relatively young man was older than he really was. Ping, Pong and Pang, even though their costumes are ridiculous, are great, and steal their scenes. Lucia Mazzaria's poignant Liu though was the star of the show, her Act 3 arias and Signor Ascolta were sung with deep feeling and attention to musicality, and her vocals are fresh and alluring, almost recalling young Mirella Freni perhaps, and her top positively floats. Overall, brilliant. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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